The University of North Carolina says it received a notice of allegations Tuesday from the NCAA regarding an investigation into alleged academic misconduct and improper benefits by football players.
In the notice, the NCAA says UNC players received preferential treatment and accepted impermissible benefits. The NCAA also alleges former UNC defensive line coach John Blake and tutor Jennifer Wiley did not cooperate with the investigation, and that Blake marketed athletic abilities of players to NFL agent Gary Wichard.
Blake is also accused of failing to report $31,000 in outside income from Wichard's firm, Pro Tect Management LLC, from May 2007 to October 2009, while Wiley is charged with providing extra benefits to players in the form of travel and parking expenses and tutoring.
"I feel terrible that these allegations occurred under my watch. I especially regret that the University has had to endure this scrutiny because of the football program," head football coach Butch Davis said in a statement. "The responsibility for correcting any problems that put us in this position is mine, and I take that responsibility very seriously."
The notice further alleges the University did not adequately monitor the conduct of Chris Hawkins, an individual triggering NCAA agent legislation; the social media activity of the football team for a period in 2010; and possible extra benefits to a player triggered by agent legislation.
Hawkins was previously connected to trips to Atlanta and Las Vegas made by cornerback Kendric Burney, and also paid $1,000 for the jersey of Georgia's A.J. Green — a transaction that resulted in Green's four-game suspension because the NCAA said Hawkins qualified as an agent.
NCAA spokesperson Stacie Osburn said after the notice of allegations, the school and all affected parties have 90 days to respond. After that, Osburn said a committee would review the allegations and make a decision on whether NCAA rules were violated.
"A notice of allegations details for the school and anyone involved with the case the potential violations that the enforcement staff uncovered," Osburn said. "There is a separate body, a committee of our members, that is actually the body that determines if the violations did in fact occur."
NCAA officials initially contacted the University via phone on June 21, 2010 and conducted their first interviews with members of the football program on July 12, according to UNC.
"When the investigation started a year ago, we pledged to cooperate fully with the NCAA, to go where the facts took us, and to face the issues head on," UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said in a statement. "Our level of cooperation is evident in the allegations, some of which arise from facts that we self-reported to the NCAA."
Thorp continued, "We will emerge with a stronger athleticsprogram, and we will restore confidence in Carolina football."